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The Time of Their Lines

Though I’ve been good and I haven’t started writing or editing, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been, you know, doing writing things.  I can’t help it:  when you start this writing thing for sure, you find yourself thinking about things related to fictional worlds and characters that, for a while, only mean things to you.

One of the things I’ve meant to do for a while is work out all the time lines for my Foundation World characters.  This includes going back in time and figuring out when my school was constructed, when different parts of the place went up, and when my Five Founders shucked this mortal coil and headed Beyond the Veil.  I do this because I love to know:  I love to have my world make sense.  I’ve had people tell me that it sometimes feels like I get too caught up in trying to make my worlds “real”, but hey, they are my worlds, right?  If I want them to feel real, then they will.

I like to think ahead.  For a story that I’ve started writing–if you’ll call one hundred forty thousand words “started”–I have things planed–you know, stuff.  (Rick, go pass out on the sofa, will ya?)  My kids have six regular years of school, and I have things worked out for them during that time.  They’re also gonna get a little extra education, and then they’ll get into the Normal World, and then . . . well, that’s the thing.  I needed to know what sort of things where gonna happen when, because I have these ideas in my head, but should my head explode, it’d be damn near impossible to get those ideas told.

That means it was time to bring up Aeon Timeline and get to work.

Those are some pretty good time lines there--be a shame if something happened to them.

Those are some pretty good time lines you got there–be a shame if something happened to them.

As you can see I have little lines showing when every instructor and staff member in my story went to school, and when some of my kids are currently going to school.  You can also see two big lines at the top of the page for Annie and Kerry:  these are their full life lines, starting when they were born, and going until the moment they die.  Sharp eyes will see that part of their time line was erased, and that because I’m the only one who gets to know when they walk on from this world.  Everyone else can just hang back and give their best guess.

This is a small part of the history I have worked out:  the whole setup is pretty big.  I know when people are born and when they die, when they went to school and when they worked there.  I have a whole lot of other things figured out as well, important events that happen during the lives of my kids.  It’s there for people to see eventually; I just gotta write it out.

Which reminds me . . . last night I sat down and figured out the themes of the books that cover their time in school.  But of course there are books–did you think there would be only one story?  Annie and Kerry’s A Level story is about discovery:  what they can do, what their new world is like, and learning things about themselves.  Their B Level story is about fear of the unknown, because now they’re getting pushed to learn, to expand their powers, and Kerry knows that at the end of the year, when he goes home, his parents learn all about the education he’s received for the last two years.  (In the world I’ve created, if you come from families that have no idea what The Foundation is, or that there’s such a thing as magic and powers and super science, the parents are kept in the dark until you’ve finished your B Levels.  Then The Foundation tells the parents the truth and gets ready to step in and yank kids out of freaked out homes if the need exists.)

Their C Level story is about loneliness, about being apart from each other because of school commitments, because of distance (this happens during Yule and for three days during a little event I like to call The Polar Express), and because of personal changes that they both know are coming.  There’s going to be a bit of fear of the unknown here as well, and a little touch of paranoia will start to grip my kids.

The D Level story, however, is exactly the opposite:  it’s all about being together and inseparable.  After the roughest of years a couple of things happen that make these kids throw up their hands, scream “Fuck it!”, and decide they’re tired of being separated and they’re not gonna take it any more.  They do get some help in the beginning, but after that they’re the ones beginning to call the shots, and they get additional help at school from something that almost no one saw coming.  But this opens the door to togetherness, and after that point in time there’s no keeping them apart as a couple.

The E Level story is about exploration, and Annie and Kerry get to trip down the rabbit hole and see the world the way The Foundation sees it–which is to say, they encounter some pretty strange shit.  Tough life for fifteen and sixteen year old kids, but my world is pretty funky when you pull back the curtain.  That leaves their F Level story, and that’s about the finish, the finale, the final chapters of this part of their story coming to an end, while all the new chapters are waiting to be written.

But is it really an end?  I’ve a hundred years of events time lined out–what do you think?

I’m not writing, but even when you’re not writing, you’re prepping for writing.  This sort of thing is pretty normal for me, and having the tools to make these things real help a great deal.

You know what would help more?

Getting it written.

9 thoughts on “The Time of Their Lines

  1. With my 2013 NaNoWriMo project, I learned that the writing came easier once everything was planned out. This has not always been try for me. When writing non-fiction high school and college papers, it was, but when it came to fiction, I was better at pantsing everything. This time, planning it out worked, and it’s something I will continue to make work for me – even when it doesn’t want to. You are working with a LOT more history than I’d ever hope to work with in a fantastical world, and I wish you luck, whether you’re writing or not writing.

    • This book was really a huge leap from what I’d done before, because I have so many characters, and all of them have been at the school as students, and the school itself has a huge amount of history. So if you say, “Well, so-and-so went during these dates,” you have to make sure you’re right about that statement. It’s a considerable amount of history, because there was a huge amount of world building in this novel.

  2. Timelines always make me crazy. If the murder happened on a Tuesday, then what happened the day after and the day after that? I sometimes squeeze too much into a day, and my beta readers say, “Peg, you’re making us tired. Can they sleep a little?”

  3. The novel-in-progress over here is pretty straight-forward linear space opera/allegory–I’ve been feeling bogged down of late, but it’s good to follow your crazy-complex hyper-productivity for perspective. Shame is a strong motivator.

  4. Pingback: Ten For Fourteen | Wide Awake But Dreaming

  5. Pingback: Seasons of the Witches | Wide Awake But Dreaming

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